Azara Blog: Maldives is allegedly going to become carbon neutral

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Date published: 2009/03/15

The BBC says:

The Maldives will become carbon-neutral within a decade by switching completely to renewable energy sources like wind and solar power, its leader has said.

President Mohamed Nasheed told the BBC the Maldives understood better than most what would happen if the world failed to tackle climate change.

His tiny country is one of the lowest-lying on Earth and so is extremely vulnerable to rises in sea level.

He said he hoped his plan would serve as a blueprint for other nations

Mr Nasheed was due to announce the plan formally after the screening of a new film on climate change, The Age of Stupid, on Sunday.

The Maldives is made up of a chain of nearly 1,200 islands, most of them uninhabited, which lie off the Indian sub-continent.

None of the coral islands measures more than 1.8 metres (six feet) above sea level, making the country vulnerable to a rise in sea levels associated with global warming.
It is estimated that the Maldives, which has high levels of poverty, will need to spend about $110m a year to make the transition to renewable energy sources.

Asked how it could afford this, the president said the country was already spending similar sums on existing energy sources, and he expected to recover the extra cost within the decade.

If the Maldives really does "recover the extra cost within the decade" then doing this makes sense independent of any other consideration.

Unfortunately, though, the Maldives economy is quite heavily dependent on international tourism. It is not clear exactly whose account the huge carbon emissions associated with that tourism should be tallied against, but since the Maldives is making money from tourism, they must be held partly responsible. But however they have defined "carbon neutral" is unlikely to have taken this into consideration.

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